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Who Should Teach Gifted Children?



Although often a  concern for parents of gifted children, this week’s chat saw an influx of teachers interested in how this question would be answered. During the course of the discussion of who should teach gifted children, many aspects of today’s educational system came into question. Do personal attributes of a teacher affect their ability to teach a distinct population? How important is certification in a specific area of instruction? Can education be delivered outside the traditional school house? What role does teacher-training play in the delivery of specialized education? And finally … is it okay to use gifted students as teaching assistants in the classroom?

Our first question explored whether or not a teacher had to be gifted themselves to teach gifted children. A vast majority of checklists found in academic journals suggest that this is indeed a recommended if not essential requirement for teachers interacting with gifted students. However, most (but not all) of those voicing an opinion in this chat did not believe it should be required as simply being gifted did not necessarily make one a good teacher; although it was desirable trait. Other qualities such as empathy for gifted students (see “Can Empathy for Gifted Students Be Nurtured in Teachers?” in the links below), a desire to teach in a gifted classroom, acceptance that their students might well be more intelligent than the teacher and adequate professional development were mentioned as more important.

Certification was a different matter. Clearly, most felt  it was essential that teachers be certified in gifted education if they were teaching in a traditional classroom. Celeste, a homeschooling mother in Australia, expressed it this way ~ “YES – what vocation allows professionals to serve without relevant qualifications?” It was pointed out that the certification process should be meaningful with extensive review of the nature of giftedness including issues such as twice-exceptional (gifted and LD), asynchronous development and social-emotional needs. Certification was also seen as a pathway to better understanding gifted children.

Celeste, a homeschooling mother in Australia, expressed it this way ~ “YES – what vocation allows professionals to serve without relevant qualifications?”

Many of those who regularly attend #gtchat homeschool their gifted children so we believed that it was important to recognize this growing segment of the homeschooling community. Gifted homeschoolers told us that for most it was a necessity as regular educational settings simply could not meet the needs of their children. Parents felt they knew their children better, were qualified to teach or had access to resources in their communities or online (see link to Gifted Homeschoolers Forum). They also told us how much work they put into educating their children and the sacrifices that had been made to have a parent available to homeschool.

An edited (we don’t think you care to see all the retweets!) transcript of the full chat may be found at Storify. Check out the beautiful new interface that Storify has provided us making our transcripts much easier to read!

gtchat thumbnail logoGlobal #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered byTAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at:


Can Empathy for Gifted Students Be Nurtured in Teachers?

Teaching Gifted Children: National Guidelines & State Requirements from Duke TIP

Ohio: Teaching Gifted Students

Professional Training for Teachers of the Gifted & Talented

Maryland: Criteria for Excellence Gifted & Talented Program Guidelines

NM: Gifted Education Licensure Endorsement Guide (pdf)

Knowledge & Skill Standards in Gifted Education for All Teachers  the NAGC

NAGC-CEC Teacher Preparation Standards in Gifted

NAGC – CEC Teacher Preparation Standards in Gifted & Talented Education Guidelines (pdf)

Using NAGC-CEC Teacher Preparation Standards in CAEP Accreditation Process

Advice for New Gifted Education Specialists

Gifted Education Professional Development Package from the Australian Government Department of Education *Excellent resource for teachers

How Are Gifted Teachers Different from Other Teachers? (pdf) by Dr. Linda Silverman

What Are the Characteristics of Effective Teachers of the Gifted? by Carol Fertig

What Are the Most Effective Characteristics of Teachers of the Gifted? (pdf) 1997

Characteristics & Competencies of Teachers of Gifted Learners: The Hong Kong Teacher Perspective (pdf)

IL: Standards for Endorsement in Gifted Education

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

Homeschooling Gifted Children” from Hoagies Gifted

Creative Home Schooling: A Resource Guide for Smart Families (Amazon) by Lisa Rivero

Homeschooling Highly Gifted Children by Kathi Kearney

Homeschooling with Profoundly Gifted Kids by Kathryn Finn

Teaching Young Gifted Children in the Regular Classroom

One Thing We’d Like to Tell The Teachers of Our Gifted Children


Photo of teacher courtesy of By the U.S. Census Bureau (the U.S. Census Bureau Facts for Feature Photos) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“Do Gifted Learners Think Differently?”

To repeat what others have said, requires education; to challenge it, requires brains.

– Mary Pettibone Poole (via Jerry Blumengarten @cybraryman1)

This week #gtchat was inspiring as well as engaging. We had an extraordinary mix of participants from 20 states and 8 countries. It was a topic that evoked strong emotions on the part of those who attended the chat. Beyond discussing whether gifted learners think differently, we also responded to Seth Godin’s recent post (link below) on his contention that ‘gifted’ is something you can become ~ a belief strongly contested by those in attendance.

The original article upon which this topic was based was “Brains on Fire: The Multinodality of Gifted Thinkers” by Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide (link below) in 2004. In the article, the Eides discuss insights being revealed about gifted thinkers from functional brain magnetic resonance imaging. fMRIs show “bright red blazes of high metabolic activity [bursting] out all over the scan.” The implications of these scans are that young gifted thinkers who “are rarely one-mode thinkers” often “go awry, and why organization should be an essential aspect of gifted education.”  The article also discusses the benefits ~ “more vivid images, prodigious memory, greater fund of knowledge, more frequent and varied associations, and greater analytic ability” ~ as well as the drawbacks ~ “sensory, emotional and memory overload, sensory hypersensitivities, personal disorganization, sensory distractibility, delayed processing due to ‘analysis paralysis’ (or getting ‘lost in thought’ due to an excess of options), and mental fatigue.”

It should be noted that this chat session had the most favorited tweets and retweets in recent history! A transcript of this chat can be found here. We invite you to ‘like’ our Facebook page here to find all the latest news and links about #gtchat.


Exceptionally Gifted Children: Different Minds

How Do You Know If Your Child Is Gifted?

Learning Characteristics of Gifted Students: Implications for Instruction & Guidance

Brains on Fire: The Multinodality of Gifted Thinkers

Mosaics of Minds: Why Do Gifted People Seem So Weird?

11 Tips for Teachers of the Gifted and Talented

Dealing with Problems of Some Gifted Children 

Psycho-Social Needs: Understanding the Emotional, Intellectual & Social Uniqueness of Growing Up Gifted 

Keynote Address at the “Eleventh World Conference on Gifted and Talented Children”

What Is This Gifted Thing Anyway? From @DavidsonGifted

What Seth Godin Doesn’t Get About “Gifted” from@redwhiteandgrew

Actually, Mr. Godin, We ARE Born This Way from @laughingatchaos

What Seth Godin Doesn’t Understand about Gifted People from @Susannewith5

Actually, It Goes Both Ways from @Lisa_Rivero

Gifted Is About the Starting Point from @MamaChicks

If Only You were Right, Seth, But … from @loveyboyos

What Seth Godin Doesn’t Understand about Gifted People from @jofrei

What Seth Godin Doesn’t Understand about Gifted People 2 from @jofrei

Characteristics and Problems of the Gifted

Gifted Children: Are Their Gifts Being Identified, Encouraged, or Ignored?

Gifted children: Emotionally immature or emotionally intense? From @DavidsonGifted

What is giftedness?

Think Different commercial from Apple

How being gifted means being different

Cybraryman’s How To page ~ “How to peel a banana”

High Achiever, Gifted Learner, Creative Thinker

Cybraryman’s Multiple Intelligences page

Cybraryman’s Differentiated Instruction page

Experience and Processing The Funnel and Cylinder Analogy of Giftedness

Intensive Reasoning Training Alters Patterns of Brain Connectivity at Rest (Abstract)

On Giftedness and Feeling Socially Mystified from @LesLinks

Gifted Education: It’s Not What People Think


Smarte Barn from @jtbakler

G&T Education from @LesLinks

On Giftedness and Fittedness from @LesLinks

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